BUFFALO, NY - For years he remained silent. Finally, Brian Davis breaks his silence about a case that ended his political career as he sits in a federal prison hundreds of miles away from home.
"I do apologize that it's taken me so long to speak," said Davis during a lengthy interview with Channel 2's Claudine Ewing, before he was taken to a federal prison in Kentucky.
"I've had my dark moments, I've had my down days, but again I hope this blemish is not a reflection on the work we have accomplished together," by we, he was referring to himself, his former staff and the constituents he served.
Brian Davis was elected to the Buffalo Common Council in 2002. He served until November 2009 when he was charged with stealing campaign funds. How did it happen? Davis said, when he was out of town, a staff member in his City Hall office deposited his payroll check, a dental reimbursement check and a $300 campaign contribution all into his personal account. "I resigned from office because of the misdemeanor plea that I took for one check for 300-dollars."
Davis speaks about his arrest during a drug raid and other matters during his interview.
He is in a federal prison because he admitted to stealing $48,000 dollars in public funds while he was an elected official. The FBI stumbled upon Davis while looking into One Sunset, a failed Buffalo restaurant.
Why did Davis steal? He said, "I got very sloppy with record keeping, keeping on top of things, receipts, invoices and expenditures and all those other things and in the midst of that, finding the very easy way of getting these events done, I did deposit funds into my own bank account." Events for senior citizens and families in his district.
"I should have known better, I should have done better," he said. "All I ask for, the many folks that have placed their faith in me is for their forgiveness."
the criminal complaint showed he would also get money back from the very organizations his office helped. Davis' answer was "there are so many things that we actually had to use cash for the day of the event." Claudine asked, why did you take taxpayers money and put it in your own pocket? The former lawmaker responded, "I took taxpayers money and I put it in my own personal account because it was the easiest thing for me to do to try to pull off events that we were working on."
Davis apologized several times for his actions. "I did not live up to your expectations. I committed a crime," for which he is serving a one year and one day sentence.
While serving as a city lawmaker, Davis represented an impoverished district of the city that with his help became one of the most developed districts in the city of Buffalo. "Within my tenure as Ellicott district Councilmember, there was almost a billion dollars invested," including new housing, the re-location of Blue Cross Blue Shield and the upgraded Michigan Avenue Medical Arts corridor.
His accomplishments also include his his role in getting the city's surveillance cameras in high crime areas and the city's first dog park.
Davis said after he resigned from office and almost up until the day he was imprisoned, residents would still call or come to his home for help with city-related matters.
Personally, Davis said the ordeal of resignation and federal charges has been "very, very tough, but I stand on the shoulders of very strong men and women in my family they taught me to endure and persevere."
After he is released from prison next year, Davis said "there is a future. The future will be brighter. I'm going to go and do my time, I'm going to come back with more energy than I had as Ellicott district Councilmember."